This super quick and easy classic marinara sauce takes twenty minutes to make, and uses pantry staples that you probably have on hand now. Great for a weeknight meal with pasta, pizza or spaghetti squash!
How are we all doing this fine Monday morning? I think today is like the Monday blues x 1000 because we just partied for like a month and now we have to get serious and be grown ups and eat vegetables and exercise and stuff. Also is anyone else binging on Making a Murderer? Because we watched like 5 episodes yesterday and then I had a fitful sleep where I was kind of dreaming about it? So, needless to say, I need an extra cup or two of coffee today.
Speaking of being grownups and eating vegetables, I’m betting that a bunch of you have plans to eat better food, cook at home more, and maybe even meal plan. I’ve talked about meal planning before, and why I think it is really helpful. I also like to have some quick and easy recipes in my repertoire, because after a long day I often don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. One thing that I pull out of my back pocket again and again is this quick and easy 20 minute marinara sauce.
I make this for everything. I use it on pasta, as a pizza sauce, or like last night, with some meatballs and spaghetti squash.
I didn’t discover the magic that is crushed tomatoes until a few years ago. Before that, I always bought pasta sauce in jars. I don’t think it ever even crossed my mind to make it myself, because I thought it was this long, drawn out process that took hours. Now, let’s be clear, this is not your Italian grandmother’s, simmering on the stove all day red sauce. There is a time and a place for that, and it is delicious. But usually I need a marinara sauce RIGHT NOW because I am about to make dinner and I don’t have time to wait around. This is where the magic crushed tomatoes come in. If you have never cooked with them, you will be amazed. Throw them in a pot with some garlic and herbs, and in no time you have a rich sauce that will elevate your dinner to the next level. After making my own sauce, I have NEVER ONCE bought jarred marinara sauce ever again.
I can make this even without planning ahead, which is great news for those nights where you didn’t even think about what you were going to have for dinner until…dinnertime.
I usually keep a can or two of crushed tomatoes in my pantry, and the herbs and garlic I always have on hand as well. So I can make this even without planning ahead, which is great news for those nights where you didn’t even think about what you were going to have for dinner until…dinnertime. Use your favorite brand of crushed tomatoes. I like to use San Marzanos sometimes, even though they are a little more expensive, but sometimes I just use whatever is on sale at the store. If you don’t know what brands you like, try a few! I do find that it makes a difference, and since this sauce has so few ingredients, the tomatoes you use are going to really impact the taste of the sauce.
Easy Twenty Minute Classic Marinara Sauce
- Place oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a cold medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant and just starts to sizzle, being careful not to let the garlic brown, about 1 minute.
- Pour the tomatoes into the pan, add oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper, stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If the sauce is bubbling too much, reduce heat further.
- Remove from heat, and remove bay leaves before serving.
This does freeze well. I usually freeze it in a mason jar.
How are you adjusting to January? Are you on a resolution plan, or are you just sticking to your regular routine?
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